Gender Writing


Have you ever had the challenge of trying to write in the voice of one of the opposite gender?  Would it pass the litmus test? Would your readers of that gender agree that you successfully pulled it off?

Women are often more emotional and men seem to subdue what they are feeling. It is the writer’s task to really try to capture that other voice.

Here are some things that have helped me to write about the other half.  I listen to their conversations and notice how they think.  Ask yourself what do they think about?  What holds their interests?  How do they handle their emotions?

After you have tried to write in the other gender’s voice, how do you know if you sounded authentic? Perhaps, have someone of that gender read your work and see if automatic discussions arise which means you were believable.

Try reading more works written by the other gender. This will give you more insight into what intrigues and mystifies them.

I must admit that I have been guilty of reading works, mostly written my women.  I caught myself because one of my main characters is male and I really need to make sure that what he is thinking and feeling sounds masculine.

Recently, I read a book called Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer.  It dealt with the building of the Panama Canal and it was obvious that this author was fascinated by this project.  He talked about the massive movement of the concrete pieces, the multiple teams of men and the management of it all. The many political power plays dominated his thought and he even added a zing of romance to the formula.

I  gathered that Brouwer was highly interested in domination and power and the possible rebellions against the foreigners on the land. This canal connected the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and whoever controlled the canal, controlled the world.

Have you ever seen men looking at others work at a construction site?  I have seen them spend their entire lunch time watching the process of building.  Think about that.  Go where the men hang out, if you are a female writer and you will learn more about how they think, what they discuss and what holds their interests.

Then you may be able to crawl inside their heads long enough to develop that character from the other gender.  Eudora Welty said, “To imagine yourself inside of another person is what a storyteller does in every piece of work.”  

La bonne écriture!

Lynn M.                                                                                                                    March 11, 2017

2 thoughts on “Gender Writing

  1. Lynn, your insight is particularly helpful to me for understanding my husband of 47 years. I’m not writing, but such perspective that you provided is useful for relationship-strengthening. Thanks, friend!

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